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Surfside erosion: The RMS / GDH Public Meeting of 13th Dec. 2018

A capacity audience of approx 40 people crowded into a small room at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club 10:30am to 12:00 mid day on Thursday 13th December, 2018 for meeting number two of RMS / GDH. ‘GDH’, a consultancy group,has been commissioned by Roads & Marine Services to prepare a “Check Report” of highly statistical scientific content of the status of past , present & future impact of Batemans Bay bridge infrastructure including piers impacting river flow & tidal erosion of Surfside Clyde River environs with view to forming a bench mark for use by appropriate agencies not only in the proposed new Batemans Bay bridge design but for a “window “ through which to view issues that may need to be addressed now or in the future for mitigation of river current / tidal forces ie. man made constructions v’s nature impacting the environment. The meeting was opened by a ‘GDH’ facilitator who outlined the scope of the meeting . When she stated what it would not cover or include there was a sense of angst & anger evident in the mood of the meeting . A number of questions were proffered interrupting the facilitator eg. Why have this on-going Project when the final bridge design has already been announced & signed off by John Holland the contractors ? Is political expediency a factor? The process is too rushed & all of the facts have not been assessed yet alone included in the brief for the new bridge. Why? The cart is before the horse isn’t it? The facilitator handed over to ‘GDH’s ‘ statistical researcher who provided graphs & numbers to support the various stages of the unfinished Report. It became evident that ‘GDH’ was there to report on their yet unfinished project of which Stage One would not be completed until the end of February . Stage 2 of ‘GDH ‘s Report’ an unknown, they said , until Stage 1 was completed & the brief for Stage 2 which may run another year was yet to be realised . It was somewhat confusing . The 3rd presenter was Kylie from RMS who fielded further questions that focussed more on the elephant in the room & that was Eurobodalla Shire Council’s conditions of impact of sea rise/ tidal river flow & flooding of properties. There were a barrage of questions from the floor . Why no wall ? Why have our property valuations fallen so dramatically while insurance premiums have risen beyond affordability ? Why no compensation for total loss of property after 4 flood inundation events in a calendar year? Other questions about the proposed new bridge were referred to two “pop up “ meetings one held at 3 pm at Korners Park on the northern banks & the 2nd to be held 12 to 6 :00pm next Monday on the Clyde River foreshore next to Innes Boat Shed . A spokesperson for Coastal Alliance spoke about the need for transparency & continual community consultation during the construction of the new bridge . He maintained that the ‘GDH Report’ was underpinned by incorrect principles a model of climate change & sea level rise that was not proven in reality. He moved a motion that a further Public Meeting be held early in the New Year . This was agreed to by RMS representatives and unanimously carried by the meeting . An attendance sheet was circulated & signed by all who were promised to be sent a copy of the minutes of this meeting . Morning tea was served . The above report by Our Town Our Say (OTOS) 13/12/18

Above: an artists impression of the new Clyde River bridge. Image by RMS

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